The Georgia Bulldogs have reached their second bye week of the season, but head coach Kirby Smart has acknowledged that it is a ‘work week’ rather than an off week. Smart said he would use this week for the Bulldogs to practice fundamentals, and to prepare for future opponents.
The last five games of the season isn’t going to be easy for Georgia. Two out of the next three games could involve two top-10 matchups depending on if Auburn can manage to beat LSU this weekend. Other than Florida and Auburn, the Bulldogs host Missouri and Texas A&M before traveling to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech.
“I was just saying earlier, in the off week, we look at all future opponents and we look at ourselves,” Smart said at his Tuesday press conference. “So we do self scout, you do your opponents work, and you say, ‘What do they do that creates an issue?’ And then you also look and say ‘What’s been successful that we might be able to emulate with our personnel?’ Shawn (Watson)’s a big part of that. He has replaced Jay (Johnson), who did a great job last year for us. He’s very involved as far as advanced scouting, we call it, looking at opponents ahead of time, both defensively and offensively. He gives our defense an analysis of each opponent and their offense. So he’s looking at Kentucky’s offense and telling us what he thinks on Sunday night, just advanced work. We’ve got several guys who do those things.”
Right now, Florida leads the SEC East standings with a 4-1 conference record, and the Bulldogs are second at 3-1. If Georgia were to beat to Florida then the Bulldogs would be atop the SEC East standings, and if they were to win out they would make their third consecutive SEC Championship game appearance.
“There’s a lot of good teams on that schedule,” Smart said. “Everybody in the SEC basically has the same schedule other than their crossovers. We embrace that. We’ve known that for a long time. All offseason we’ve worked for it to be a three-part season. There’s part one. Part two in the middle. And then part three was going to be the meat and potatoes. We’ve known that. We’re building up this week to work on it. Trying to look at a lot of different game tape to figure out what people are doing to us and what other people are doing defensively and offensively to get better.”
If you were to break down the parts of the season into three phases the Bulldogs went undefeated in phase one with an impressive win over Notre Dame. But in phase two the Bulldogs have struggled with opponents early in the game, and that ultimately led to their defeat against South Carolina. Entering phase three against Florida will be the toughest test of the season for the Bulldogs, and after that, it won’t get any easier.